Sunday, June 17, 2007

What type of Legacy will you leave?

A Lasting Legacy
by: Nasir Al-Amin

"The truest mark of a successful life lies in leaving a lasting legacy."
(Craig & Mark Kielburger)

Growth in some sense is being able to take an honest account of one’s actions and desires. As I reflect on my life, I cannot help but to laugh at myself, but also give thanks for the maturation and clarity that various experiences have afforded me—some by force. At one point in my life I was overly consumed with what our culture promotes as symbols of success—the senseless pursuit and accumulation of material goods/toys.

At one point, my focus was solely on fleeing my neighborhood for some gated community in the suburbs, having the latest clothes, jewelry, patronizing and/or “being seen” at the “In” places…etc. However, this piece is not about or not an attempt in anyway to slight those that enjoy the “finer things in life” as these things in and of themselves are not the issue. Rather the point of contention is the attachment I and we as a society place on these success/status symbols—the even deeper issues to ponder is the attachment one’s heart has to these toys and symbols of success, but I am in no way knowledgeable enough to address matters of the heart; its just a question I try to ask myself.

However the aim of this diatribe, at 3:45 AM is really a personal quest to take a sincere look at what defines a successful life. We all know when we approach our last breaths we won’t reminisce on the various toys we’ve accumulated over our life time. Those things will not be what we use to determine if we lived a successful life, if we are leaving a lasting legacy.

On the contrary, I believe that a successful life is one in which another person’s life is enhanced by your presence. A life in which one’s personal goals reflects their personal values; when people feel secure from your speech and actions, yet know that the marginalized and underserved will have voice through your speech and actions. But I think Ralph Emerson uttered it best when he said: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.”

What defines a successful life to you? What type of legacy will you leave?

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